Sorry, I have been away on holiday and haven't been updating Elder Pentreath's blog. Here are some highlights from his recent emails and letters home.
Thurs 5th July- "So, today we had a service project! We went to Brewersville chapel and had to dig trenches and irrigation system to stop it totally flooding every single time that it rains! We worked solidly for 4 hours in the seriously pouring rain, ironically the hardest rain we've had since I've been here, but got loads done and walking away it felt very rewarding that, physically, we'd saved a church! For about an hour we were digging, knee-deep in mud and then water up to our waist (no lie!) and so I got to know them well, which was sweet! So we got back to the appartment dripping in our cholera-infested clothes and Elder Esiaba went out to teach! =)"
In a letter to Mum sent at the end of June, when asked how his hotter shoes were faring: "So we needed to get over a 'wee stream' (wee stream is a term used to describe a stream in which the concentration of wee to water is higher than 1:1 in favour of excrement- I don't think it's a technical term) So the stream's pretty wide and so we followed it down to where it flows into the sea (it kind of widens over the sand and so isn't as deep), but of course the tide is in when we get there, so we realise we have about seconds to perfectly prance across and few well-placed sand mounds in between one wave dispersing and another taking its place, so Elder Esiaba sets off, using the coastal breeze to his favour he makes it! I guess my levels of dexterity are inferior to his however, because I get halfway, miscalculate my jump, pause, and then realise that I shouldn't have paused! The next wave emerges out of nowhere, carrying smatterings of poo and some oil. All I could do was pivot 360 degrees three times with a scared look on my face, much to the amusement of the twenty odd kids playing nearby and the twenty or so fisherman preparing their boats. So everyone's laughing as I'm pirouetting, ankle-deep in a essentially a giant toilet. Anyway, I get out and I am sad because I know that all the wee's going to go through to my socks - but, no!! Hotter venture (TM) Ventura (TM) Gortex (TM) shoes saved the day!! Absolutely perfectly snug! Literally couldn't work out how my feet weren't wet! My trousers (bottom of) even were! Ere long will I trust 'Hotter.'"
Saturday 21st July: "What a wonderful day today has been! Today was the district olympics. There were 10 teams, one from each area and then a full-time missionary team, which competed in a volleyball, kickball (only for women) and a track and field tournament. It was super! We arrived at 9am and played volleyball with the district presidency for about an hour and a half whilst everyone arrived. Then we started the volleyball tournament and we waltzed through everyone! I never got subbed or anything throughout the 4 games and loved it!! =)"
Saturday 28th July: "Well, today was full of stuff going on!! We headed into the area to pick up Winnie to bring her to the baptism - as we were walking through the area to the road to get a bike to Duala 5 kids all came and held onto my hand in a chain - which is very common so I didn't think anything of it. But after about 100m I said 'OK, you need to go now, we don't want you to get lost' they said 'no, you carry us to the church!' At which point we realised that these 5 kids are members of the church and as they saw us walking through the area their parents had told them to follow us because there was an activity at Duala. So, we got to the road and quickly did some money counting and realised that it would cost more than 80LD more than we had between us to get all 8 of us to the chapel. So Elder Esiaba and I quickly searched for our favourite bikers and pled with them that they'd take various children (which they shouldn't really have done) for a total bargain price. To our amazement they all agreed and we suddenly found ourselves alone with 45LD between us. I don't think that we've ever got to Duala from where we were for less than 70 and so we went about and somehow found someone who would take us; miracle!! So halfway to Duala a policeman stood in front of the bike, pulled the key out of the ignition and started berating him for not having a license plate... so we started to dismount knowing that now we have a REALLY big problem and will have to walk the remaining 4 or 5 miles and we had all of the baptism clothes, so everyone would have to wait for us; but no, another policeman comes up behind the other guy, takes the key from the policeman, puts it back in the bike and just say 'go!' He then said to us 'Hey Elders, I'm the new branch president in Upper Caldwell - enjoy the baptism.' Classic! =) After the baptism we went into the area and saw a gathering of people. We saw that they were looking at some giant fish being cut up - but going closer we saw that actually it was a giant turtle! It measured 3 and a half feet long, each fin/foot foot long! They'd just cut off its huge head and there was SO much blood. =("
The past week he has been in a lot of pain and had some large lumps under his armpits. Sounds terrible, so please remember him in your prayers. Saturday 4th Aug: "My arm is getting so much worse and I've been sick a couple of times today, have had a runny tummy alll week!!"
Sunday 5th Aug: "So I've learnt more about my armpit. It's got huge and it's not just a spot/boil, not at all. It's a big, massive, hard swelling which is a type of thing they get in West Africa. It sounds very weird I know, but you get up to about 4 of them under each arm at once, they eventually go down, but then are replaced with more on the OTHER armpit! But here's the weirdest bit.. after you have 32 of them, they stop and it's finished..?! Apparently they're massively contagious, which would explain why Elder Esiaba and I both are developing them and they really do get huge! Elder Kouao says that people get them a lot in the Ivory Coast and to stop them you have to get an injection in eachg arm.. =S AHHH!! It's a type of blood infection.. I literally can't explain how much it hurts it's like a hard sharp pain and if I close my arm it really hurts because it squeezes it (there are actually 2) and if I stretch my arm then it stretches it..?! =S The Kirkhams (an older married missionary couple) are coming tomorrow and taking us to the hospital to get it sorted. This week's been hard, really has, haven't felt well at all all week and just feeling down, but the work's been sweet and for sure has kept me going!"